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This Seems A Tad Expensive December 17, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball, Baseball Cards.
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Really? 2.7 million for a 1978 Craig Reynolds card?

I mean, he was a decent player and all, but I don’t think his 1978 card is up there with a 1909 Honus Wagner, y’know?

Maybe I misread the listing. Maybe the card comes shipped in a fleet of Lamborghinis. Or, perhaps it’s for the ACTUAL Craig Reynolds, now a Baptist pastor in Houston. How much do retired shortstops/pastors in Houston go for these days, anyway?

I was curious enough to email the seller:

Hi

This turned up in my suggestions and caught my attention. The price seems slightly high. So I’m curious.

I really want this price not to be a typo. I’d like to think people have made you ridiculous offers for this card thinking it’s some sort of rare error or the like. If so, more power to you.

My other theory is that you ARE Craig Reynolds. If so, you were a pretty good SS for the Astros.

In any case, I’d love to hear the story behind this listing if you want to answer, thanks in advance! If not, I’ll enjoy the mystery.

I’ll update this post if I get an answer.

Maybe more wacky suggestions will turn up in my ebay feed since I bought a few old cards the other day. Who knows?

In the meantime, make those best offers. Craig’s not getting any younger.

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I Understand Some Guys Dream About Girls December 15, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Writing.
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But not me. I guess the subconscious reveals what we TRULY wish for.

Last night, I dreamt my front door had been left open, and I heard it slamming in the wind. When I went to close it, I saw a small siamese kitten meowing. I took it inside and petted it, figuring I’d better set up some food and water. Then I noticed it wore a collar with a bell, so I thought it must be someone’s lost cat, but that I’d take care of it anyway.

Woke up. Clock said 1:37AM.

Back to sleep.

New dream! I went to some giant office building, but when I went inside, there was a humongous black Newfoundland dog in the lobby. It butted its head against my legs, so I sat down on the floor, and the dog flopped on top of me and I figured I should just sit there so that the dog would be my friend.

This dream’s source was easy to figure, though – I’d just been asking Elinor Shapiro, the illustrator of my new book Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast, how HER humongous black Newfie had greeted her upon her return from a month-long artist-in-residence deal in France. The answer was “She tackled me.”

This time I woke up and the clock read 4:28AM.

Back to sleep.

Last dream of the night before waking up around 8:30 was of me leaving my work, walking some Victorian-housed neighborhoods that looked a lot like Providence, and deciding to get a big pizza before having to drive all the way back to Southern California.

Got a giant pepperoni and sausage, and it was a giant rectangular Sicilian-style one like they make at Caserta’s in Providence.

Woke up for good this time.

Like I said, some guys dream about girls. I dream about kittens, dogs and pizza. The subconscious can’t lie about what I truly love, I guess.

Making some spicy chipotle chicken chili for dinner just now. I’m predicting more dreams.

Happy Hanukah From Phigg & Clyde! November 30, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Cooking, Food.
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Happy Hanukah!

So, you want a recipe for some wonderful Hanukah food?

Here’s mine for potato latkes,  straight outta my new book Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast.

Get your copy now on Amazon by clicking here!

Illustrations by Elinor Shapiro.

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast Is On Amazon, In Both Paperback & Kindle! November 19, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Writing.
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Amazon finally linked up all the web pages into one. Just updated the “Buy My Books” tab up top with this…

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast

 

The first entry in the new YA scifi adventure series!

And since it’s written by yours truly, expect that special brand of Wagstaffian humor throughout! That way, kids and grownups can all enjoy it.

Phigg & Clyde are sister and brother. Phigg solves every puzzle. Clyde can build and fix anything.But all of history has changed! Breakfast has turned into garbage! Can they solve the puzzle of time and fix it?It’s usually Uncle Phineas’ job to travel through history and fix the timelines – but he’s been kidnapped! Without him, Phigg & Clyde must use The Watcher to put history right again. And evil forces within the timesphere have plans of their own – for all of history and especially for Phigg & Clyde…Join them as they journey across thousands of years, all around the world, saving what you love to eat! Recipes Included! Taste along!

That’s right – two smart little kids must learn to be Timekeepers like their Uncle Phineas – guardians of the proper timelines of history! Evil forces have changed the course of history by destroying what we’re supposed to be having for breakfast. Only Phigg & Clyde can put things right again by saving the invention of everything from cereal to the microwave oven to dim sum as they travel all over the world all across time!

Tag along with ’em to find out where everything in your kitchen came from, and pick up some recipes from foods across the world & time.

Just don’t let the Timegoblins or their evil master trick you or trap you somewhere in the past. After all, they have very special plans for Phigg and Clyde…

With wonderful illustrations by Elinor Shapiro, who also did the cover.

 

Get Your Copy On Amazon By Clicking Here!

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast, my new book, NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! November 16, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Writing.
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Click on this text to get the paperback!

Click on this text to get the Kindle Version with a “Look Inside!” preview!

Now available in both paperback & electronic form – Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast is the first entry in the Phigg & Clyde series!

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast is the story of a too-smart little girl and her too-clever little brother who have to become time travelers in order to SAVE THE WORLD!

In the first book of the series, the entire timeline of culinary history has gone wrong, and everyone is eating garbage for breakfast. History must be put right, and Phigg & Clyde are the only ones who can do it, since their Timekeeper Uncle has been kidnapped.

Well, they can do it once they learn how to be Timekeepers. And certainly, the forces of EVIL behind these diabolical changes in the breakfast timeline will surely try to stop them…. or worse.

Join Phigg & Clyde as they journey through history –  making sure the right things get invented from Napoleonic France to Imperial Rome to Battle Creek Michigan to Constantinople to Dynastic China to Ancient Egypt and beyond!

Worldwide recipes from modern times & history included so you can cook & taste along!

I wrote this one some years ago and put myself into the frame of mind I put myself in to teach bright middle school aged kids history. All the seemingly strange and random things that Phigg & Clyde need to restore in the timeline are all true, quirky as they are!

So I guess this qualifies as “edutainment,” as it were.

After I endured what can only be described as “Hollywood Hell” as my draft bounced around various entities and unfulfilled promises, I decided to go through my original version of the story, tighten things up a bit, get some wonderful new illustrations by Elinor Shapiro to make the whole thing a better reading experience, and put it up on Amazon beside my Professor Wagstaff detective series.

Who says I can’t write two series at once?

Quinn Martin, Stephen J. Cannell, Steven Bochco and Aaron Spelling just nodded in agreement, at least on my Ouija board.

SO THERE!

Anyway, click on the link, get yourself a copy, and write a review on Amazon! The paperback & kindle links will match up within 48 hours, they tell me… that’s when I’ll add it to the “Buy My Books” tab. In the meantime, you can switch around.

Thanks and hope ya enjoy it!

 

 

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast – A Free Sample Sneak Peek!!! Part 2 November 11, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Writing.
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Here’s Part Two of the sneak peek PDF for my new novel, Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast.

It’ll be available later this week on Amazon, in both paperback and electronic form!

Once it’s up on there, it will surely have a “Look Inside!” button for sneak previews, but in the meantime, these PDFs that will take you into Chapter 3 will suffice. And don’t call me Shirley.

Click Here For “Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast” Sneak Peek Part Two!

and in case you missed it,

Click Here For “Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast” Sneak Peek Part One!!

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast is the story of a too-smart little girl and her too-clever little brother who have to become time travelers in order to SAVE THE WORLD!

The entire timeline of culinary history has gone wrong, and everyone is eating garbage for breakfast. History must be put right, and Phigg & Clyde are the only ones who can do it, since their Timekeeper Uncle has been kidnapped.

Well, they can do it once they learn how to be Timekeepers. And certainly, the forces of EVIL behind these diabolical changes in the breakfast timeline will surely try to stop them…. or worse.

Historic recipes included so that you can taste along!

Feeling Out Of Step With The Universe, Part Infinity Plus One November 10, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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So while tooling around this afternoon running a few errands and browsing some dumpy thrift stores and goofing off, I found myself in Old Town Newhall walking main street.

Air smelled smokey from that God-awful fire out in Malibu/Thousand Oaks. Thankfully not smoky outside my house when I got home.

Anyway, I’m walking down Main Street looking around and noting the western movie star names they have on the sidewalks as their own li’l walk of fame (Clint Walker, HELL YEAH!) and then I noticed something.

Rather crowded place – lots of people walking around, too.

But they weren’t taking in the sights or enjoying the day.

Everyone walked around staring into their phone.

EVERY. GOD. DAMN. ONE.

First it made me nervous – were they all keeping up-to-date on some vital news item? Was the smoke I smelled from some god damn NEW fire nearby?

Everyone regardless of age walked staring into their phone. The only other person besides me who didn’t was some tall dude with a shirt that simply read, appropriately, “Old School.”

Some of ’em chatted with each other inbetween looking back and forth at their phones. There seemed to be somewhat organized groups of people, but all fixated on their damn phones.

I finally broke my shyness and asked some guy – “Why are you all on the phone?”

“Pokémon,” he answered.

It’s times like this that I no longer wish to be part of the human race.

And here’s the soundtrack:

 

I’ll post the 2nd installment of Phigg & Clyde tomorrow. Barring any unforseen circumstance, the book drops on November 14 on Amazon! Maybe if people read it & enjoy it, I’ll want to rejoin humanity. But the jury is still out.

Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast: A Free Sample Sneak Peek!!! (Part 1) November 7, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Writing.
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Available very soon on Amazon – here’s part one of a two-part sneak peak at my new book, Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast.

Click on the link below to download a sample 33 page PDF of the Prologue, Chapter 1 and the beginning of Chapter 2!

Click Here To Get Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast – Sample Part One!

Enjoy!

I’ll post Part 2 of the sneak peek by the weekend!

 

At Long Last…. The Holy Grail Of Horse Betting Has Been Attained! November 5, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Horse Racing.
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I don’t bet horse races as often as I used to. I’ve been a good boy and have spent more time trying to write & actually be productive in my off hours and especially over the summer.

It’d been a long while since I’d handicapped a race card and spent an afternoon watching Santa Anita. But the closing day of the fall meet came along Sunday, along with a mandatory pay-out of a rather large Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot.

I’ve come close to winning a Pick 6 jackpot a few times… got 5 out of 6 for the consolation pool three different times. One time I’d nailed the Pick 6 on paper in my handicapping but hadn’t bet it.

I’ve gotten trifectas, superfectas, pick 3s, pick 4s, and a couple of pick 5s…. but never a pick 6…

UNTIL SUNDAY!!!!

I got the Pick 6, which due to a large number of favorites and a twenty cent betting amount instead of the usual $2 paid less than most jackpots…

BUT I STILL GOT IT!

Felt great watching every race in the sequence, too… watching my picks either leading or coming from behind, even to beat other selections of mine. I tripled the opener since it had a lot of new runners, and doubled all the rest for a bet of $19.20. I threw in a matching pick 4 for $8.

So for $27.20, I won about $750!

HELL YEAH!

I’ll leave it in the account and use it to bet races for the next several years. There’s absolutely no reason to stop being cheap.

But picking 6 races in a row for essentially a 35-1 bet makes me feel like a genius. I’ll just kick back and savor that.

 

My Official Author’s Portrait November 4, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, General, Writing.
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I think it captures my essence, don’t you?

This is my bio blurb pic for the interior of Phigg & Clyde Save Breakfast, coming very soon from yours truly over on Amazon.

Watch this space during this week for some previews & PDFs of a chapter or two!!

And FYI: That mug will contain tea FAR more often than coffee, and NOT catnip tea either.

Perhaps dressing up the cat in a beat-up old suit and fedora & changing the mug to a half empty whiskey bottle may go well with the Professor Wagstaff series. We’ll see.

Art by Elinor Shapiro.